Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Truth About ATRs That THe Media Deliberately Fails To Publish.

 Its starting again, the one-sided media onslaught of the ATR pool by again bringing up the so called viable option of an ATR time limit.  While, in the beginning of this latest round of media ATR bashing has not explicitly stated that ATR are "bad teachers" like the round before, we all know its coming.  First Charkbeat wrote an article about Chancellor Carmen Farina telling her audience that she will not "force place" ATRs.  However, if you read the article the writer does a very poor job of "fact checking" and took a very anti-ATR slant.  To say it was sloppy reporting is an understatement.  Today the Daily News editorial board asked for an iron-clad ATR time limit of one year.  I expect similar editorials from the Post, Times, and the Wall Street Journal to follow.  Its time to set the record straight on the DOE policies that have resulted in an ATR pool of 2,000 or more and why ATRs need to be placed back in the classroom next school year for the betterment of the students.

Tweed ideology:
The leadership at Tweed is permeated with the education reform ideology that the public school system can be run as a business model with students as widgets and teachers as cogs, while the Principal is the CEO of the school and being a business manager is more important than being an educator.  Combine that with the Bloomberg demonetization of the teaching profession that want a temporary non-pensionable teaching staff and the very willing media allies and the result is an attack on senior teachers. Only an ideologue can justify wasting 160 million dollars annually and misuse much-needed talent for the sake of an ideological cause that only hurts student academic achievement. The fact that Chancellor Carmen Farina has not done her necessary "spring cleaning" at the DOE and especially at Tweed is troubling.

Fair Student Funding:
The primary reason there are over 2,000 ATRs, including teachers, school secretaries, guidance counselors, social workers, and assistant principals is the "fair student funding"This is the most important reason there is an ATR crises. The "fair student funding" forces principals to hire the "cheapest" and not the "best teachers". According to UFT Michael Mulgrew no other school district in the nation uses the "fair student funding" the way the DOE does.

School Budget Cuts:
Since 2007 the NYC public schools have experienced a 14% decrease in their budgets.  Combine that they must now fund teacher salaries and pay for the useless and money sucking  "Children First Networks", principals are reluctant to hire veteran teachers.  With already tight budgets and scrounging for supplies, few principals will take on a high salaried teacher even if that's what's best for the students.

Closing Schools:
While there are to be no more closing schools, the damage has been done.  With 163 schools closed during the Bloomberg years, over half of the ATR pool are teachers from closed or closing schools. Their only fault is to have worked in a school targeted by the Bloomberg administration for their own nefarious purposes.  Unfortunately, the De Blasio administration has not reversed any of the closings that are in progress and even more teachers will be joining the ATR pool next year if nothing is done to change the situation.

Leadership Academy Principals:
Going hand-in-hand with the ideology at Tweed is the hiring of those "Leadership Academy Principals", many who had little or no classroom experience who naively believed the Bloomberg/Klein propaganda that ATRs are bad teachers. While Chancellor Carmen Farina has made changes to the "Leadership Academy" requirements, it still means that 19% of the present day principals in the NYC public schools are run by principals with little or no classroom experience and are unwilling to hire ATRs.

The Truth:
The truth about ATRs is that the ATR pool has many "highly qualified teachers" who are unfairly stigmatized by false allegations, ideology, and by a deliberate media misrepresentation of the issue. Sure some of the teachers in the ATR pool were subject to discipline due to alleged misconduct or incompetence.  However, if the alleged incompetence or misconduct were true, these teachers would have been terminated through the State 3020-a process.  However, the reason these teachers are still in the ATR pool and going from classroom to classroom is because the teachers were found to be innocent of these charges by the independent State arbitrator after carefully reviewing real and relevant evidence.  A fact, that the media never seems to mention in their articles and editorials.

The ATR pool is made up of mostly senior teachers with over fifteen years of experience and an average age in the 50s, based upon a small sampling done and published in my blog. Because of their age and salaries, applying to the Open Market Transfer System and going to the "useless job fairs" results in no interviews. The union claims there are only 900 ATRs, the truth is that there's over 2,000 ATRs when you include the ATRs who are covering for leave replacements, provisional vacancies for the year, and counting all the other excessed staff not assigned permanently to a school. Only the newly excessed, less experienced teachers are even able to be appointed to vacancies as the veteran, higher salaried teachers are just too expensive for the schools to consider.

Placing the ATRs back into the classroom where they belong is a win-win solution for the DOE as it will bring lower class sizes, deep curriculum knowledge, and good classroom management skills to improve student academic achievement. Many of the teachers in the ATR pool are "quality teachers" and our union most push back against the inaccurate media reporting about the ATR pool.  Hopefully, when a new contract is signed, the ATRs will be offered to the schools.  However, the only way principals will be able to hire an experienced ATR and improve their students academically, will be to eliminate the "fair student funding", have the teacher budget reverted back to the DOE Central as a unit and a hiring freeze until all excessed teachers in the district are "provisionally appointed" to a school.  This will mean no "forced placements" and allows the principal and the ATR to decide if they are a good fit for the school.


Anonymous said...

where can we find the complete list of the 163 closed schools?

Anonymous said...

Why isn't the union speaking up on our behalf? Do they agree with this media onslaught? And Farina didn't necessarily say we wouldn't be place just that it wouldn't be forced placements. I halfway agree with this. No one wants to work in a school where the principal is forced to accept you since they will then make your life a misery!!!

Anonymous said...

There is a huge teacher shortage coming. Thousands of teachers will retire this June and within 3 years. Colleges and universities are reporting as much as 50% decreases in teacher certification programs. The educational system in the USA is coming to an end.

Anonymous said...

I have 15 hrs to go. I'm barely 40 with 17 years and principals flat out say why should I hire you when I can hire a 22 year old who makes 48 k and I agree.

Mike S. said...

If they change the funding system back to one in whuich we're all paid from Central, that will solve a lot of problems and won't cost the city a dime. Most ATRs will find employment, and senior teachers like myself (22 years) will have the opportunity to transfer to better schools. This should be a priority for President Mulgrew in contract negotiations.

Anonymous said...

Not to fear my colleagues. We will sign our new 9 year contract - get the money OWED to us - better working conditions - no more useless ATR pool as our best educators will be back into the classroom and then the media will move on to the next pet project - they have been doing the crap for years - pundit media with 3rd grade reading level journalism only preying on the poor and weak

Anonymous said...

You had better think twice before anyone posts an anti ATR blog because anyone reading these blogs can see the word karma being used. Yes, anyone who dares to hit the key board and post this type of blog will put themselves in the karma world and we all know how fickle karma can be. So, with that being said, the information Chaz has put forth has been tremendous in keeping our colleagues informed about this sad, undeserving system that was created by neophytes like klein, bloomberg and oops don't forget black and the puppet himself walcott (anyone remember him?)

Anonymous said...

The propaganda coming from our local media reminds me of middle eastern mentality where journalism really does not exist.

Anonymous said...

What the hell is some jerk wipe at the daily news dictating what our teachers contract should be?? Imagine, some jerk wearing dirty shoes and a wrinkled shirt with their breakfast still spelling from their ass wipe breath sitting at a terminal in the filth ridden daily news offices writing an article about the UFT contract and what should be negotiated!! Are you freggen kidding me daily news yellow journalists bozos! Get a real job and contribute to society like teachers do and stop spewing your hate especially with your smelly breath and dirty clothes - go take a walk and look in the mirror and try to figure out how you can contribute to society rather than pollute it

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Will you stupid bloggers who keep writing "why should a principal hire me for 100k when they can hire 2 newbies for the same price"
LISTEN IDIOTS - Its like saying why would I want to buy a Lexus when I can buy 2 hyundais for the same price!!! Yes you can hire 2 newbie teachers for the same price as a veteran but remember what your father or mother taught you that you get what you pay for. So please lets rid that mentality out of the blogs because in anything is life, the bargain is just that, a bargain.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:18, you're in trouble man. If you couldn't find a job at the age if 39, you got some problems. You should take the sanitation test.

Anonymous said...

The new contract will reflect the 1 year time limit for an ATR to be picked up by a school. Mulgrewcwill sign the 1 year time slot, sorry.

Anonymous said...

How many ATR's are former 3020-a inmates?? Plenty. Plenty of you need to find a job or get out. I cannot wait to see the new Union contract.

Anonymous said...

Now field supervisors can take attendance at atr Prof development - like we are in pre-school - are you kidding me - and a field supervisor can deny us going to PD - this is sick!!! absolutely disgusting- we are treated like cattle to the slaughter - the DOE is disgusting and the UFT worse

Chaz said...

Anon: 5:13

3020-a inmates? You must be one of the following:

Leadership Academy Principal.
Educator for Excellence drone.
DOE non-educator at a CFN.

A real teacher would never use such words or believe the DOE lies.

Anon 2:29

Dream on and read NYS Civil Service Law.

Anon 10:54

You're assuming that the Principals care about teaching quality and what's best for the students. The Principals really only care about their budgets.

Bronx ATR (and proud of it) said...

To 2:29
Even if the union would agree to a one year (which it would never would) time limit, it simply could not be enforced. Every union in the state would go into attack mode if NYS LIFO was threatened. If Bloomberg with all his money and influence couldn't do it, why do you think the Daily Tampon or NY Pox can? Wishful thinking on your part. If layoffs ever come, you and your ilk will be the first to go. ATRs are much safer in every regard to the new, inexperienced, cheap "teacher". Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Anonymous said...

Why do some of us get all riled up because a few losers who have nothing to do with their time start writing messages attacking ATRS

It is good that Chaz posts ALL these messages but it would be even better if we do not respond to such diabolical stupidity from those born under the shores of ignorance
THIS is a great forum for us to encourage each other and learn from each other ...Those who write on this forum but can only come up with negative comments towards us are just a bunch of rats who have nothing better to do..Go get some cheese with your whine you ingrates.. Be glad you are not an ATR and look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself WHY DOES the ATR situation bother you so..??? BE glad be thankful you belong to a permanent school OR are You so miserable that you want to spread your misery??